In a typical work setting, air traffic controllers:
- Are substantially responsible for the health and safety of passengers and crew members.
- Have a high level of social interaction. They frequently talk to pilots and other controllers.
- Communicate by telephone and in face-to-face discussions daily. They occasionally write letters and memos.
- Almost always work as part of a team.
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- Are responsible for the work outcomes and results of others.
- Are placed in conflict situations on a daily basis in which they must deal with rude or angry people. Air traffic control can be stressful.
Physical Work Conditions
- Always work indoors.
- May be exposed to loud sounds and distracting noise levels.
- Work physically close to others, usually within a few feet. Air traffic controllers usually work in a small area.
- Make decisions quickly and without consulting a supervisor first.
- Make decisions that greatly impact everyone involved in flying, including pilots, passengers, ground crew, and other traffic controllers.
- Must complete all details of the job while being exact and accurate in instructing pilots. Errors can result in serious accidents or unnecessary disruptions to service.
- Must repeat the same physical actions while remaining alert to pilot activities.
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- Work in a stressful atmosphere in which deadlines must be constantly met.
- Determine their daily tasks and goals independently. Work is dictated by flight schedules
- Usually work a 40-hour week. Work schedules are usually established and set.
- May rotate night and weekend shifts with other controllers.